Study: Diet Mixers Get You Drunk Faster

You might think that if you're mixing a cocktail it's only the liquor you should worry about. But new research suggests that the type of mixer you use also plays a role in how the booze affects your body.

A new study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research shows that drinking diet soft drink with liquor causes breath alcohol concentration to rise quicker than the exact same drink made with regular soft drink instead. Among participants, those drinking diet soft drinks had peak breath alcohol concentration 18 per cent higher than those on regular soft drinks.

The participants were given 0.9mL of vodka per pound of body weight -- which for a 63kg person is around 125mL of vodka -- mixed with either Squirt or Diet Squirt. Then, their breath alcohol concentration was tested over time. The results show the peak happened sooner and was higher for those sippin' diet mixers. The researchers also tested the participants' reaction times, using simple computer-based tests, and found that the diet soda drinkers' times were noticeably slower. So, diet soft drinks get you more drunk.

Admittedly it was a small study -- just eight men and eight women -- but the results, shown in the graph above, still seem significant. But why the hell does it happen? At the moment, researchers think that the body recognises full-sugar soft drinks as food, which slows down alcohol absorption. Diet soft drinks get no such special treatment, so the body lets the booze pass into your system much quicker. Use this information wisely. [Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research via Smithsonian]

Picture: cyclonebill/Flickr; Graph: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research